London  - A smart home full of devices connected to each other, as well as domestic robots are closer than we think, according to one futurologist.
This year has seen a rush in the popularity of smart gadgets, with items like 3D printers and smart thermostats making it onto Christmas lists for the first time. The trend is a sign of the way technology will accelerate in 2015, according to London-based futurologist Dr James Bellini.
‘The centrepiece of our future is the British home, which is rapidly becoming the digital hub for our increasingly connected lives,’ he said.
‘Our homes are set to be enriched further by energy; from high-tech gadgets and appliances to smart devices.’ Dr Bellini was commenting on the release of a report by energy company SSE, which showed that the average home was transforming, as consumer buying habits changed.
The Home of the Future report found that in 2015, the most wanted products will be 3D printers, followed by smart devices that connect to our phones - primarily thermostats and security systems, as well as solar-powered chargers.
3D printing is a technology moving further into the mainstream, with the first artificial limbs created from 3D printers being used on patients this year. Not only are the devices now on sale in retailers, but there are multiple mobile apps that enable users to create and buy figures and toys that are printed in 3D. ‘3D has been described as the biggest economic revolution since Henry Ford introduced production line manufacturing in the 1900s,’ Dr Bellini said.
‘Nasa already use it to turn out rocket parts; they are also developing ways to deploy 3D technology to produce on-board meals for the manned Mars missions planned for 2030 and beyond. ‘At the domestic level, 3D printing will mimic the take-up of fax machines and microwaves in the 1980s.
‘The cost of a printer is falling rapidly - a starter version sells for less than £500 ($777) - and they are incredibly versatile. ‘Printing a new smartphone case takes about 30 minutes - then there are toys, handles, chess pieces, replacements parts for every domestic gadget. ‘Then there’s food.
‘Nutritionists are looking at ways of printing food items for the elderly to match individual nutritional/dietary needs. ‘And although it’s early days for 3D printed pizzas and chocolate, it won’t be long before every home has gone 3D.’